Some people substitute coffee with Coke Zero because they can’t stand the bitter taste of coffee.
After all, Coke Zero’s formula is similar to Classic Coke, which billions worldwide enjoy. But does Coke Zero really match up to coffee’s caffeine content?
Coke Zero has 32 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce serving, while an average cup of coffee has 90 milligrams. However, Coke Zero is still strong enough to give you an energy boost because it contains aspartame, an artificial sweetener known to induce hyperactivity.
This article will discuss the caffeine in Coke Zero and various types of coffee.
It will also talk about the side effects of caffeine and Coke Zero’s sweeteners so you can better decide what to have as your everyday energy booster. Let’s start!
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Coffee vs. Coke Zero: which has more caffeine?
Coffee has a higher caffeine content as compared to Coke Zero.
An 8-ounce cup (237 ml) of coffee carries roughly 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine, which can vary slightly between coffee brands.
On the other hand, Coke Zero’s 12-ounce (355 ml) serving carries about 32 milligrams of caffeine, which is about 21 milligrams on an 8-ounce (237 ml) serving.
Still, some coffee brands carry lower amounts of caffeine in Coke Zero, particularly if they are decaffeinated.
Coke Zero compared to different types of coffee
While Coke Zero generally has less caffeine than your average cup of joe, the comparison still depends on your coffee-drinking habits.
The average instant decaffeinated coffee only carries about 2 milligrams of caffeine (8-ounce or 237 ml serving).
Nestle’s Milo, on the other hand, has about 4 milligrams of caffeine (8-ounce or 237 ml serving).
Some restaurants’ coffee-based beverages carry a bit more caffeine than instant decaf but are still lower than Coke Zero. All caffeine content figures are for 8-ounce servings.
Fast food coffee
Fast food coffee carries low to moderate caffeine. Arby’s Jamocha Shake, for example, only carries about 6 milligrams of caffeine.
On the other hand, Starbucks Decaf Coffee has a surprisingly high 12 milligrams of caffeine.
Even seemingly low-caffeine beverages in Starbucks, such as the Pink Drink and the Refreshers, carry around 22 milligrams of caffeine (for a short cup size), roughly the same as Coke Zero.
However, the caffeine content of all products mentioned so far is still considered low relative to other coffee products that actually aim to provide energy boosts to their drinkers.
The average instant coffee only carries about 57 milligrams of caffeine. That’s more caffeine than Coke Zero, but it’s still lower than other types of coffee.
For example, Nescafe’s 3-in-1 Instant Coffee carries around 67 milligrams of caffeine.
Turkish coffee, on the other hand, provides 200 milligrams of caffeine for an 8-ounce cup, which explains why they are served in tiny cups.
Some coffee shop beverages also offer lower caffeine content, such as Dunkin Donut’s Dunkaccino, which only carries about 48 milligrams.
Dalgona coffee, which got very popular over the last few years, has a pretty high amount, at 105 milligrams.
While a lot stronger than Coke Zero, these caffeine content figures are still considered moderate.
However, with regular coffee and more traditional coffee beverages, the difference becomes starker.
Starbucks’ Cold Brew, for example, has about 104 milligrams of caffeine. Dunkin’s Brewed Coffee, meanwhile, has about 210 milligrams.
Finally, some products are actually geared to provide dangerous levels of caffeine.
This includes Death Wish Coffee, which has an alarming 560 milligrams, and the Black Label Brewed Coffee, which registers an unbelievable 1,038 milligrams.
This is the strongest coffee in the world.
Coke Zero can still keep you awake
Despite its low levels, the caffeine in Coke products can still keep you awake. The FDA estimates that the half-life of caffeine is about five hours.
This means that after 5 hours of taking caffeine in, half of the amount you ingested is still flowing through your veins.
The average person needs about 100 milligrams of caffeine to keep them awake, so an 8-ounce serving of Coke Zero may not do the trick.
What really keeps people awake with Coke products is its high amount of sugar. An 8-ounce (237 ml) serving of regular Coke carries 26 grams of sugar.
With Coke Zero, sugar is not a problem, as its primary sweetener is aspartame.
It’s 200 times sweeter than sugar, which is why they are added in such small amounts to beverages.
In fact, the very low amount of sweetener is why Coke Zero has zero calories.
However, aspartame can still affect your sleep. It can cause hyperactivity and insomnia and worsen your overall sleep quality.
Keep in mind that Coke Zero is not primarily served in 8-ounce (237 ml) servings. Most countries have them available in 12-ounce (355 ml) cans.
Either way, the caffeine is negligible, but the aspartame may be a different story.
Side effects of caffeine
As you may know, caffeine is the most popular pick-me-up in the world. But too much of it can cause side effects, including irritability and an increase in anxiety.
Some people also report experiencing dizziness, shakiness, and insomnia.
Another problem with it is that it can cause dependency. People often increase their coffee intake to get the same kick once their bodies get accustomed to their usual dose.
However, it would take a ridiculously high amount of caffeine in short intervals for it to be lethal.
If you want to get rid of caffeine altogether and still enjoy Coke Zero, you can try the Zero Caffeine Zero Sugar variety.
Side effects of aspartame
The first thing to do when determining how healthy a product is is to look at the nutrition facts.
Aside from 0 calories, Coke Zero also boasts 0 fat and 0 carbohydrates. This makes it a magnet for those trying to lose body fat.
But that’s not the entire picture. We also have to look at the ingredients. Carbonated water generally has the same effects as water, so it’s not much to worry about.
The effects of caramel coloring and phosphoric acid are also generally okay.
Aspartame is the one to watch, as this is an artificial sweetener. This must be avoided if you really want the weight loss to be fat reduction instead of muscle.
Aspartame can cause weight gain
Research has demonstrated how drinks heavy in artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, and sucralose, can cause the same levels of weight gain as drinks sweetened with regular sugar.
Many believe that artificial sweeteners make the consumer crave more sugar, negating any benefits of the low-calorie count.
This is because your brain is introduced to the sweet taste, yet, your body receives zero energy from the low amount of aspartame.
Artificial sweeteners can raise insulin
Some research shows artificial sweeteners can raise your insulin levels, which makes fat loss more difficult.
Insulin secures the fat in the body, increasing the effort you should exert if you want to reduce it.
As such, you may be better off with other zero-calorie sodas, such as Zevia. Or, if you want, you can stick to regular coffee if it’s the caffeine kick you’re after.
If you don’t like the bitter taste of coffee, there are many ways for you to make it more enjoyable.
Make your coffee taste less bitter
Creamer and sugar are usually the way to go if you want to make remove the bitterness from your coffee.
Aside from the sweetness popping out, taking the bitterness off helps your tongue focus on the other flavors in coffee.
But too much sugar and creamer can be pretty unhealthy. What you can do is play with other ingredients instead.
One of my personal favorites is vanilla extract. Something about vanilla makes it go well with everything, particularly with coffee.
Vanilla extract also has that sweetness to it without the guilt that comes with sugar.
You can also play with other natural sweeteners, such as honey, which has a lot of health benefits.
Add salt if you don’t mind that extra layer of complexity in your drink.
You can also add cinnamon if you’re going for that earthy, exotic flavor or even mint for that extra kick of freshness.
For the creamer, you can use soy milk, oat milk, or almond milk as a substitute.
These can neutralize bitterness, and each has its own flavors you can experiment with.
You can also make your drinking experience much more enjoyable by pairing it with your favorite pastry.
If you want to treat yourself or if you’re taking a break from your diet, check out this recipe for salted caramel mocha Frappuccino! Believe me; it won’t disappoint you.
If you’re looking for a better-tasting energizer than coffee, Coke Zero may not be the product for you.
It doesn’t contain nearly the same amount of caffeine and may introduce some health problems.
Make your daily dose of caffeine delicious instead by following the tips above.
Learn more about caffeine content
- Do Starbucks Frappuccinos Have Caffeine? (A Complete List)
- How Much Caffeine Is in a Latte? (Is It More Than Coffee?)
- How Much Caffeine Is in a Chai Latte? (Masala Chai Latte)